Initial Thoughts & General Comments
Don’t let Dan Bailey & Bjorn Gudmundsson fool you – this will be a very short workout for most people. Consider that Dan completed his first round in ~2:24 with unbroken toes to bar, unbroken double-unders, and quick singles on the cleans. That is not a whole lot of wiggle room for those of us who aren’t superstars at toes to bar and double-unders!
Surprisingly though, whether you are gunning for Dan Bailey’s spot at Regionals, or just hoping to finish a round, the strategies one should implement for cleans and double-unders will not differ much person to person. The crux of the workout is the toes to bar, and breaking those up in a smart fashion will be the key to reaching your maximum potential in this workout.
I am, selfishly, pretty pleased with the announcement of this event. The athletes in our competition program have done countless numbers of cleans, toes to bar, and double-unders this year!
Toes to Bar
If you know how to cycle your kipping toes to bar reps, you should do so as far into the workout as possible. They are much, much faster than the hang & swing method. The key to linking toes to bar reps together is a huge “pull back” on your second rep (and beyond). You must lever yourself back using the strength of your arms & back, in order to catch the rhythm of the kip.
A good drill for this is to have a friend hold a pvc a bit lower than the bar, and have you do reps to there, and then progressively move the stick up until you’re doing full reps.
If you can’t cycle your kips, you must rely on grip strength to do the hang & swing. This is usually best saved for the end of sets. Doing single reps can actually be a little bit quicker, provided you leave your hands on the bar (and just bring your feet down – be sure to swing behind you before starting the next rep though). You’ll want a pull-up bar that allows you to touch down on the ground while still holding on.
Tape your hands if you have even the slightest suspicion that they may rip during the workout!
If you are proficient at double-unders, you need to R-E-L-A-X. There is no reason to do these at a breakneck speed in order to do 50 unbroken in 30 seconds instead of 33 (unless you *know* you won’t be able to clean the next bar).
If you’re less than proficient, one reason could be that you’re trying to jump too fast. Despite how some (very advanced!) people make it look, you want your jump to be big and slow. The slower the jump, the more time the rope has to get under your feet.
Wear your weightlifting shoes! The only reason I can see not to is if you know that 25 Toes to Bar & 50 Double-unders will be near impossible for you to get done in 4 minutes.
A belt can be helpful as you get to heavier weights, but is a bit time consuming to put on. I recommend saving it for your “heaviest” weight – the one you, personally, would be super stoked to reach.
While it will be tempting to “walk the dog” a bit between reps, commit to staying right next to your bar. Glue your feet to the ground. Doing so is the only way to make quick singles truly quick.
I included a ramp up to ~80% of your best clean in the warm-up. This’ll make the first bar feel nice and light. If your 80% weight is lower than the first clean weight, obviously you’ll want to get to that weight before the workout starts.
And it should go without saying, but if you’ve got some buddies who will load your bar for you in between rounds, or extra bars and plates, use them!
In my opinion, there is really only one question you need to ask yourself when it comes to developing a strategy for this workout: “How good am I at toes to bar?”
Under these specific circumstances, with the 4 minute timer ticking away, the best strategy for double-unders will be to get them out of the way as quickly as possible. This means unbroken if you can, or as close to that as you’re able to. If double-unders are a struggle for you, you must simply chip away as well as you can, and hope you have enough time left for cleans. No strategy will help, you’ve just got to get them done!
The cleans should be done as singles. The only situation where I can imagine it being beneficial to do them in bigger sets is if you are running out of time and you somehow have the energy left to string some together.
This is not to say that the double-unders and cleans won’t limit people in this workout. Of course they will! But the plan remains essentially the same for each no matter who you are. However, how you handle the toes to bar will be crucial for even getting the opportunity to do more double-unders and cleans.
Should you break them up? Unless you are a Games athlete, absolutely yes. Here are some ideas for how, based on the max number of toes to bar you can do consecutively when fresh:
25+ Toes to Bar – 15+10, 8+7+5+5, 5’s, whatever you’ve got left in round 4
15-24 Toes to Bar – 8+7+5+5, 5’s, whatever you’ve got left in round 3
6-14 Toes to Bar – 4+4+4+3+3+2+2, whatever you’ve got left in round 2
< 6 Toes to Bar – singles, whatever you’ve got left in round 2
While it may be tempting to pursue a more aggressive strategy if you know that you might struggle to finish the first round, starting with a max rep set and then falling off to slow singles will probably take longer than breaking pre-emptively into smaller sets with short breaks in between.
Yes, there is a tie-breaker for the time you complete your double-unders in your last round. But it’s your last round! At that point, you’ll be doing whatever you can to scrape together reps. This is the “shit-show” strategy, and it is inevitable in a workout like this. Accept it!
5-10 minutes Aerobic Activity
– Row, Bike, Jog, Jump Rope, etc at an easy pace. Mix it up!
5-10 minutes Dynamic Range of Motion work
– Prioritize hamstrings, ankles, lats.
Build to 80% of Clean max for a single
– In between sets, add in between sets: 10 Scap Pull-ups, 10 Kipping Swings, 3-5 Toes to Bar (only 1 set of each over the course of the ramp up)
1-3 Toes to Bar
3 Cleans at 135/85#
Rest 1 min x 3 sets – add speed each set
Rest 5 minutes before beginning the workout.
If you happen to have a bad double-under day, and those limit you from completing your first round, it’s not a bad idea to rest 15-20 minutes and give the workout another go (hoping for better DU luck that time around)! I think this is a pretty good one to repeat in general, especially if you barely missed being granted permission into the next round. However, if you end up doing 76-100 toes to bar in your first go around, I’d consider saving your lats & shoulders for 16.3.
Have fun! CrossFit is fun.